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Flick of the Wrist.

In the interests of getting through TSA in Orlando as quickly as possible and making my way over to my gate so I could find some iced coffee and a banana, I disconnected my insulin pump and put it through the x-ray machine, caring very little if it melted in the transaction because I was melting in the transaction.

The tram to the gates was arriving just as I was finished at security, so I grabbed my pump off the tray and held it in my hand. dragging my bag to the shuttle. Just after “stand CLEAR of the closing doors,” I reached around to the top of my hip and reconnected my infusion set, sticking the pump into my pocket.

A woman boarded the tram, her infant daughter strapped to her chest. I noticed her noticing me while I reconnected my pump.

“Insulin pump?”

“Excuse me?”

“Is that an insulin pump? Sorry – my son has diabetes and I recognized the pump.”

“Oh, yes.” I searched her wrist for an orange or green CWD bracelet but didn’t see one. “Were you here for the conference?”

“What conference?”

“The diabetes conference. It’s called Friends for Life and it’s put on by an organization called Children with Diabetes. It takes place here in Orlando, over at Disney.”

She smiled. “I’ve never heard of it, and I live right here in Orlando. What’s it called?”

“Friends for Life. It’s a diabetes conference for families with diabetes. Lots of kids with type 1 attend with their parents, and lots of adults like me who go to connect with other adults who have diabetes. It’s really nice, like diabetes camp. Community helps, you know?”

She nodded, and the baby on her chest flapped her arms happily. “My son goes to camp. He loves it. But I’ve never heard of the conference before.”

I reached into my bag and fished around for a pen. Nothing. Checked my pockets for a business card. Nothing. The tram was about to stop and ditch us at the gates, leaving me just a few seconds to try and explain how a few days in Florida can change your life for the better.

“What’s the conference called again?”

I grabbed the edge of my green bracelet and pulled it off my wrist.

It's on. #ffl15

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

“I know this seems weird to hand you a slightly-used conference bracelet, but the URL for the conference website is on it. Everyone who has diabetes wears one of these green bracelets. You see one of these and that person understands, you know?” I handed her the bracelet, pointing at the website address. “I hope this doesn’t seem creepy. It’s just an amazing experience, being around all of those other families, and it would be great to have you and your family check it out, if that’s your thing.”

She took the bracelet and put it in her pocket. “This is very nice of you. Thank you. I’ll check it out for sure.”

The tram doors opened and we stepped out.

“Where are you headed home to?”

“Rhode Island.”

“And you come here just for that conference?”

I thought about the week that had just passed, when I was surrounded by people who redefined family.

“All the way here. Green bracelets are pretty awesome.”

She waved, and her baby waved, too. “Thank you for passing this along. Safe travels back home. Maybe we’ll see you next year.”

Usually when I board the plane home from Friends for Life, I like to look down at my green bracelet because it reminds me of my PWD tribe.  This year, with a flick of the wrist, I was grateful it had found a new home.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Brenda #

    And that’s why some of us want to adopt you or be your BFF — to share in your awesomeness! Oh wait, we do that now with your writing. But it would be fun to drink iced coffee with you.

    07/13/15; 9:29 am
  2. Kelly #

    This made me tear up. I couldn’t help looking for green and orange bracelets all through the airport on my way home. I took my orange bracelet off last night, but i couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. Neither could my green bracelet kiddo. I enjoyed your session on Social Media!

    07/13/15; 11:04 am
  3. Perfect!

    07/13/15; 11:24 am
  4. Jane Hunsche #

    Yes, I was to be you FFL! And you took off your green bracelet and not your yellow! You showed the real power of the green bracelet. Hopefully they will attend next year and realize the FFL power and what taking that green bracelet off really meant! Amazed at the stories of people finding other families this week who have not heard of FFL and them sharing the experience.

    07/13/15; 1:03 pm
  5. Martha #

    This is beautiful and you’re making me cry and I’m at work so that is NOT FAIR. No really…this is just great and thank you for reminding me that there are people out there who get it. I needed that today.

    07/13/15; 1:07 pm
  6. Good for you Kerri. Having worn one of those green bracelets before I know how much meaning and importance they have, I didn’t take mine off until it looked really ratty. Hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer.

    07/13/15; 2:21 pm
  7. Ash #

    Great story. It’s funny, describing FFL to people on the outside can be a challenge. It’s hard to convey what it means to the people who attend without sounding completely cultist or bonkers.

    07/13/15; 5:16 pm
  8. Beth #

    We had a similar experience after our first LaJolla Focus on Technology conference. We took our kids to Lego Land afterward, and the girl working on of the rides asked about my “insulin is not a cure” tshirt. She had just been dx’d with type 1 and was totally without info or support. I gave her everything I had with the website on it and practically begged her to get online on her next break. 🙂 CWD saved my sanity, so I’m thrilled to share it with everyone I can.

    07/13/15; 5:42 pm
  9. kimball #

    A flick of the wrist and a possible hole in one……..good job Kerri

    07/13/15; 9:39 pm
  10. Chrissy #

    You have the most random encounters with diabetics than anyone else I “know”! The beach, the gas station, the airport. It’s amazing. I’ve had DM1 for 30 years, and worn a pump for close to 20(!), and I haven’t had a quarter of the chance encounters that you have. I must not have an approachable look 🙁

    07/14/15; 9:49 am
    • I chalk it up to a ton of travel. I live in Rhode Island, and we aren’t known for our PWD. 🙂

      07/14/15; 1:50 pm
      • Chrissy #

        Hmm. Now I wonder what area is known for PWD. “Xxxx- the diabetes state!” But yes, it’s probably the travel 🙂

        07/14/15; 8:10 pm
  11. What a wonderful story, and what a selfless (albeit maybe creepy) gesture to pass along that bracelet! I can’t wait to hear the follow-up story next year.

    07/14/15; 10:24 pm
    • It was all-day creepy. What made it worse was that I had just washed my hands, so the bracelet was oh-so slightly damp. 🙂

      07/15/15; 9:56 am
  12. Heather Henricks #

    Beautiful. I would love to take my daughter! Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

    03/30/16; 1:53 pm

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